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ravenousveggie

Thoughts on veggie food, work, play and life in general

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Happiness

Brain Meltdown

Some days you get home and just feel as though your brain is in meltdown.

Today was one of those days.

My first client today is a lovely lady who I visit once a month.  The main aim is to keep her up to date on dealing with her paperwork and supporting her to navigate a complicated financial situation and also sorting out care for her elderly relative.  Today’s challenge was to keep her on track.

Due to a family health scare, her mind was understandably elsewhere.  As usual I started by asking her what tasks were top of her priority list, and started working on these.

The first one was easy and soon dealt with.  The other was a bit more tricky. It involved confirming a seat on a flight and printing a boarding pass. Normally this is quite straight forward, however a strange alert came up when I tried to reserve the seat.  I rang the number on the site and soon all was sorted. I then went back in to print off the boarding pass. This time it showed the seats I had booked but still wouldn’t let me pass the seat reservation stage. Alarm bells started ringing.  My client then recalled an email she had received the day before saying that the flight had been cancelled. She had dismissed it as a scam email as the the email address didn’t look correct and there were numerous typing errors throughout the email.  Added to the fact that we could still go ahead and log on to confirm the flight, with no mention of cancellation, it was put down to being a scam.



Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

We found another phone number and rang it.  This took us through to a a customer service centre and a lovely chap who confirmed that the flight had been cancelled and apologised that he could not rebook the ticket for the time that was needed.  He also took on board that the email looked fake, and gully explained the reason for the cancellation. Not much help for my client who was travelling for work, and could not rebook to a different destination.  I was more taken back by the fact that one part of the same company did not know that the flight had been cancelled.

After this the rest of the tasks were soon dealt with and I was soon on my way to my next meeting.

This I knew would be more challenging.

I have a mentee who is just starting up a business. The business idea is sound, and my mentee has a lot of experience in the area.  But my mentee is an over-thinker. If any scrap of doubt can creep in, it will. Our first meeting was quite intense – my mentee swinging from complete confidence to giving up her dream in the space of every twenty minutes or so.

This meeting was to discuss the content for her new website.  I had previously had a panicked telephone call the week before as my mentee became over anxious about what she was writing and again felt like giving up.  Twenty minutes later I had managed to calm her down and get her back on track. It was her desire to get everything right first time that was holding her back.  And if she couldn’t think of the perfect thing first time then she seemed to go into a spin and start questioning everything.

So it is fair to say that I was going to this meeting with a little trepidation. My mentee was all smiles and looking relaxed when I arrived. She produced the pagers of copy for her website and I started reading.  It was all good stuff – covered everything it needed to, from the background of the company to services and charges.

I was half way through the first page when it started.  A barage of questions and doubts and ‘is this right?, or should I change this?’ To be honest I really wanted to shout out ‘will you shut up and let me read?!’, but I thought better of it – the genteel patrons of a Waitrose coffee shop probably wouldn’t survive it.

By this point in the day I was tired and trying to concentrate on what I was reading, whilst being asked questions about sections I hadn’t read yet, just didn’t work. I stopped what I was doing. My brain stopped. I just stared at my mentee – paralysed by the amount of things I was being asked to do and not managing any of it.

A few moments later I was back in the room.  Putting my game face on and getting my mentee to calm down.  We calmly went through each area she was having issues with and came up with alternative wording, or put her fears to rest.  An hour and half later we said goodbye and went our separate ways.

When I got home I just felt exhausted.  My brain felt soft and mushy. I looked at the kettle – I knew what it did but had no idea how to use it.  How could this have happened to me? I have had days where I have been pulled in various different directions by different clients (and the same ones!) and had to field multiple interruptions, but never had I felt like this.  Part of me wanted to feel angry at my mentee. Surely if she has this amount of doubt on the finer points of her business then she won’t be able to sustain the business. Should I tell her to stop aiming for her dreams and go an get a job?  But her background and experience says differently. And the business idea she has is really good.

I resolved to put it down to experience.  I can’t expect all mentees, or clients, to be calm and not sweat the small stuff.  Or to realise that things can usually be changed in the future – websites updated when the perfect wording comes to mind, or business cards and flyers changed when the first batch runs out.  I just need to find a better way of dealing with this situation in the future.

My biggest issue now was to tend to my mushed brain and get myself back on track.  A task which involved something slightly stronger than a cup of tea.

Monthly Loves – December

December – that month of cramming in work, parties and shopping before a long break (if you are lucky) where time seems to stand still and days become one big blur..  

  • Christmas Festivities – although Christmas has changed for me a lot over the last few years, I still enjoying to see the energy and enjoyment it brings to so many people.  
  • I had a lovely Christmas meal with a client at The Half Moon at Warninglid.  Probably the best veggie meal I hd out this month. Not sure what the usual menu is like, but I know my other half will love the food there, so planning a trip back at some point.
  • Hot chocolate made with almond milk.  The best dairy free alternative and flavour combination I have found to date.
  • Mal Maison – probably my favourite hotel chain who also cater well for vegetarians.  The staff are always welcoming and the decor is sumptuous. Don’t visit very often but I am never disappointed.
  • Christmas Dinner – I made a simple but gorgeous veggie main using Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s receipe for baked mushrooms with kale and walnuts. It went perfectly with all the roast veg and trimmings and was really filling. And it to no time to prepare and cook! Find the receipe in his River Cottage Much More Veg book
  • If you read my latest blog you will think I did nothing over the Christmas break, however I did spend a good few hours planning my business for the next 12 months.  Business planning sounds quite boring, but I am now focussed on what I want to achieve, and how to achieve it. I found it a very energising process and am looking forward to 2019.
  • Presents – my lovely friends and family showered me with an array of environmentally friendly and home-made gifts, helping my journey to reducing plastic and treading more lightly on the earth.

Weighty Issue

When people find out that I am vegetarian 95% of the time they remark” really? You don’t look like one”. Apart from asking “what does a vegetarian look like?” I never really know how to react to this.

Society today is obsessed with the  ‘perfect body’. We know that magazines  are full of photoshopped images and that most people now have a distorted idea of what a healthy body should look like – at any age.  Even though I am aware of all of this it does make me slightly uneasy with my own figure.

I mostly eat healthily  – veg, salad, pulses, nuts, fruit – however I have a very real love affair with sugar.  I don’t do artificial sweeteners and haven’t found a stevia product I like the after taste of.  



Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

This sugar issue means that I am slightly more ‘cuddly’ in the middle than society would like.  I am still a healthy weight though.

Various changes in myth life  over the last few years have meant that  I am not getting to the gym as much (or ever) as I used to.  I pretty much work 6 days a week. This means that on my free days catching up on housework and relaxing tend to get top priority.  Getting out to exercise has dropped off the priority list.

I am very aware that this is within my control (to a great extent).  I have chosen to re-prioritise exercise in my life. It is something I am reviewing.

My busy life means that I tend to have less time to prepare food than I used to.  The ‘on the go’ food options for veggies predominantly focus on cheese and bread options, or over chilled sandwiches of egg or tomato that leave them tasteless.  Or chips. Love chips!

Although the range of veggie food is slowly changing, for me interesting, tasty, easy to eat veggie food on the go still mostly doesn’t exist.

With a bit of extra effort I can remedy this situation, and I am making changes.  However wouldn’t it be nice to have a larger, more widely available choice of healthy , vegetarian fast food?  All those shelves of chicken salad – could we not have the option of buying a salad and then a ‘protein’ to go with it?  A flexible meal deal to appeal to everyone? Or am I the only one who is bored with the current offerings?

For now I am putting extra effort into making my own lunches and tking healthy snacks with me. It still doesn’t stop the lure of a good doughnut, but it is a start.

Self- Preservation

As someone who tries to walk to work as often as is practicable, my sense of self-preservation is quite well honed.  If I get the timing wrong then I have to protect my ankles from the fleet of scooters from children on the way to school, or their parents juggling scooters on the walk home.  

If I see a car coming towards me as I am crossing the road I tend to walk a bit quicker to make sure I make it to the other side safely.  Or decide not to cross the road at all.

However I am beginning to think that I have a rare skill as more and more these days I come across people putting themselves in danger.

I live in a quite a built up area – houses built before everyone had cars – so a lot of people parking their cars on the road.  This can cause minor amounts of congestion as cars try to pass. This is mostly avoidable if people had a bit more patience and used the road to its fullest extent.  

I also live between three schools.  During the school run I take my life in my hands as I try to leave my house.  As a pedestrian, or a driver, crossing the road outside my house can be tricky.  Although it is parked up, there are trees obscuring the view, and it is on a bus route, drivers insist on speeding.  Not driving at, or below the speed, limit in case of children crossing the road or people pulling out of drives. That would be sensible.  Some cars drive so fast that even when you have a clear view they appear as if from nowhere just as you are pulling out across the road. Some drivers, determined to get to their destination, drive so close to the parked cars that my neighbours and I frequently loose wing mirrors.  I expect if any of these drivers did have an accident they will spout on about how safely they drive. They rarely stop to to admit to the damage they have caused in their rush.

self-preservation

 

There are some points where the road bends, so you have little choice but to drive on the wrong side of the road to pass the parked cards.  It never ceases to amaze me that oncoming drivers seem unable to slow down for the obstacle in the way – even if it is the number 98 bus. Its as though they feel that you are on their side of the road and so you should get out of the way, and they should not have to do anything about it.  Drivers also seem to have a tendency to speed up when they see something in their way. Its as though they see the space in front of them as theirs and theirs alone.

Supermarket car parks are a good example of where self-preservation gives way to this feeling of owning the space around us.  If you watch car drivers in car parks you will see that they have very little patience for pedestrians. Almost as it is a surprise that people are walking across car parks. How dare they! Why can’t they walk somewhere else?  

The car drivers, park,  get out of the car and turn into pedestrians.  Taking the shortest route to the store, avoiding squeezing between parked cars to get the designated footpaths.  Loosing awareness of the cars moving around them. Crossing oncoming traffic and wondering why the driver inside has not seen them. And thinking these drivers are rude and inconsiderate.  Five minutes before they were the drivers wondering why the pedestrians are not taking more care of themselves.

Why does getting behind the wheel of a car take away our ability to be responsible for our actions?  Why do we feel the need to claim the road, to speed up when something is in the way? We don’t own the road.  The Highway Code does give driver the right of way in certain circumstances, however when does common sense kick in?  All drivers have been in the situation where being across the middle of the road has occurred when they as far as they can see the road ahead is clear.   Driving at speed towards an object or person in front of you sounds like madness. But so many drivers do it. Why do we punish each other by insisting on being aggressive when all we need to do is slow down and take control of the situation?  This has to be better from a car insurance perspective?

Why do we stop thinking about traffic when we are pedestrians?  It is easy to drive fast but a lot more concentration is needed to drive within the limits of the highway and the other road users around us.

When will our need for self-preservation kick in?

Goodbye Old Friend

I recently changed my car. It was a decision I have been slowly making over the last year. My car was over 11 years old and I had always promised myself a new car every ten years. I had worked hard and saved for it during those 11 years. I knew the time would come. This year would be that time. I kept telling myself.

I had just about made peace with my decision, but still felt troubled by the decision. It finally struck me that my difficulty was around letting go of an object that had been with me through the 10 most difficult years of my life: My constant, unfailing, un-grumbling companion through great days, amazing days and some very, very dark days.

Valentines Day Incoming - Miniature Red Car Carrying Heart

This sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s a ton of metal with a great heating and sound system. A functional item taking me and my belongings on all my journeys. I realised that changing the car was the end of an era. An era during which I had taken my mother to hospital, watched her die, then dealt with my father’s illness and subsequent death, redundancy, starting a company, divorce and finally a heap of happiness.

My car was the biggest item still left from a time that I have mostly been trying to get over and let go of.

My car was with me when I visited amazing places, witnessed beautiful events, and cried my eyes out with grief and anger. My car listened to me without complaint as I ranted, raved, sobbed and sang. Sang a lot. Like the friend who is always there for you but you don’t speak to every day, my car was there for me. Bonkers.

The need to change my car came as I realised it was going to need some major work on it. So I took the plunge and went looking for a replacement. I initially even felt bad discussing my new car whilst driving the old one. I confess I had a conversation with my old car about the need to change it, and what good times we had had together. Bonkers

Having chosen my next car I spoke to the salesman about how people react when they hand over the keys to their old car. He confirmed that for some people it is a big wrench – almost like saying goodbye to a member of the family or close friend. The longer they had had the car, the harder it seemed to be. I didn’t confess to him that I had worried about handover day, but at least I knew it wasn’t just me.

When I went to pick up my new car I was nervous. Had I made the right decision? Would the new one be right for me? As soon as I saw it sitting there gleaming away I knew it was right. I said a proper goodbye to my old car and collected my new one.

The drive home was weird (new car, handled differently, lots of gadgets to get to grips with, worried about the paintwork etc), but overall it felt ok. I had a brief twinge of abandoning the old one.

Now a few weeks on I know I made the right decision. My new car has the feeling of my old reliable friend and hasn’t complained about my singing once.

Here’s to the next ten years my new friend.

 

Morning Light

Driving to an appointment at 7am this morning I found myself stopped in traffic and I suddenly noticed the sky.  It is still quite dark at this time of day however it struck me that it felt like a ‘different’ type of dark.

The dark felt fresh – the start of a new day, positive and full of possibilities, fresh and clean. I know the morning air is cleaner as pollution drops overnight, however I felt really motivated by it, and any worries that I had about my day suddenly disappeared.

Silhouette of a man with city lights.

It was strange then to find myself driving home in the dark, and instead of feeling positive about a good day at work, and looking forward to my evening, I felt tired and wishing that it wasn’t so dark.

Could this just be down to naturally feeling tired after a long day at work, and lack of daylight from the current shorter days (roll on Spring!) and being indoors most of the week.  Do shift workers going to work in the evenings as we are coming home feel tired or inspired by the new day ahead.  Does the early morning journey home find them tired, or does the daylight motivate them?

Whatever the answer I will enjoy the early mornings more from now on, and also take time to look at the sky each day and take a few moments out to breathe and relax.

 

Making The Most Of My time 2

So its been a while since my last post where I was mulling over how to better use my time.So what have I been up to? (Apart from having a break!!)

 

I have been getting up earlier and doing some mundane tasks each day.  This is proving to be a good thing – filing up to date, washing and ironing up to date and giving me more time to relax in the evenings.  And I feel like I am accomplishing a lot more each day.

 

Of course there have been some days when I haven’t felt like doing anything, or just decided to stay in bed for an extra half hour.  But part of my new routine is saying yes to doing what I feel like doing rather than feeling too pressured to complete things  (unless they really need to be done!).  Giving myself permission to do this has been a revelation and has made me feel refreshed and re energised on its own.  So far I haven’t missed any deadlines, or got behind with anything and don’t feel guilty if I decide to have a slightly lazier day.

 

I am doing the half on Linked In each morning, which is paying dividends.  I have made many more connections, read some really interesting articles, been able to share my knowledge and experience and so far have two new clients from it.

 

The added benefit of this is it means that I can spend a little more time at work dealing with clients and running the company, rather than worried about getting to every face to face networking meeting.  This half hour each morning won’t replace the face to face networking I do, but it is showing rewards quite quickly.  And of course it is much cheaper and less disruptive during the day.

 

So all in all my routine is working well.  I’m hoping to add in some time to learn new things, and currently trying to identify a course to do.  And yes I am feeling happier!

 

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